How to Make a Face Mask - Fast and Easy - Free Pattern and Video Tutorial

Learn how to sew your own face mask with this free pattern and video sewing tutorial. This mask is designed with an opening in the top so you can insert filter material into the middle of the mask.

April 1, 2020 - UPDATED to include Adult and Child Sizes

Click Here to Download this Free Face Mask Pattern

Please print and share this pattern freely. 

Face Mask Sewing Pattern

As of March 24th 2020, I have read we have a shortage of N95 face masks to protect medical staff and patients in some hospitals. In response, some hospitals are willing to accept homemade face masks.

Note - This mask is not intended to replace a N95 mask. It will not protect you at the same level, but it is better than nothing.

I have designed this pattern to be as simple and fast to sew as possible with the least amount of cutting and sewing.

UPDATE: the PDF Pattern above now includes a child size mask. This is ONE SIZE FITS ALL for all ages.

I've created a second video to demonstrate how to sew the kid sized mask with ties instead of elastic. You can also see how I insert a filter square into both mask sizes:

Using Filter Material in Your Mask

This pattern is designed with an opening in the top so you can insert non-woven filter material into the middle of the mask. I learned a lot about filter materials from this online article.

Based on the information in that article, just two layers of dish towel (dish rag / drying rag / tea towel) can provide almost as much filtration as a surgical mask, however it can be challenging to breathe through for long periods of time.

Face Mask Free Sewing Pattern and Video Tutorial

Some other filter material ideas include: flannel fabric, hand towels and t-shirt material. I have also heard from people online using paper towels and coffee filters. Please pick the material that is easiest for you and makes you feel safest.

FILTER NOTE: Every few days someone else comes out with a new opinion about the best filter material. If someone else says a certain filter is a bad idea or dangerous to your health, please don't use it.

Use your common sense!

Filter for adult sized mask - cut 5-inch square

Filter for child sized mask - cut 3 1/2-inch square

How to Insert Filters

Open the mask so the pleats are flat. Tuck the filter square into the mask using the opening sewed into the top. Wiggle your fingers until the filter rests flat. Then pull on the sides and the pleats will fold back up again.

How to Use the Face Mask / How Often to Change Filters

Note: this is my method only. This is not medical advice. This is simply what works for me.

Face Mask Tutorial

My sister is a nurse and I asked her for help on understanding how nurses use the N95 mask usually. Before the shortage, nurses put on the mask and threw it away after a single use, washing hands before and after putting the mask on.

Based on this information, this is how I use a face mask:

I wear a clean mask and clean filter when leaving the house. 

I wash my hands and avoid touching my face when I'm out in public.

Yes, I do wash the filter in the mask IF IT IS A WASHABLE material like flannel.

When removing the mask, I first wash my hands, then remove the face mask carefully by only touching the ties or elastic. I try very hard not to touch my face.

Frequently Asked Questions

I've received many questions / suggestions since I first put the mask video up on youtube. Here are answers to the most frequent questions I've received:

* Can you make a mask for me?* 

I'm sorry, but no. My house flooded in February and I'm currently trying to run a business, repair my home, and educate my son. My best effort to contribute to this pandemic was to design this mask, write the pattern, make the videos and share this information so you can make a mask for yourself.

If you don't know how to sew, please check out my beginner tutorials here. This is quilting oriented, but will set you up well for sewing as well.

Please look on Etsy for homemade face masks. 

* Is the mask washable with the wire (pipe cleaner or twist tie) over the nose? *

Yes, I have washed my masks several times in the washing machine and dryer. They will ball themselves up and make a bit of a mess. Don't worry!

Unfold the mask and, holding the short edges firmly, run the wire end over the edge of a table a few times. The wire will flatten back out and be ready to bend over your nose once more.

* You should make the mask have two fabrics so you can easily tell the sides apart. *

No, this is neither fast nor easy and certainly not efficient. Making a mask with two pieces of fabric doubles the time needed to prepare fabric.

Fabric must be washed, starched and pressed before cutting. Using two different fabrics (example: blue on the front, white on the back) also doubles the cutting time.

It is far more efficient to make the back more obvious. Use a permanent marker or pen to write the word BACK on the back of the mask.

Mask Pattern Back

If this is not enough of a sign of the wrong side, color the back with dots, lines or dashes. Be creative and have fun making the back of your mask very different from the front.

* What is a size for kids? *

The pattern is now updated with a kid size. One size fits all ages because this mask uses shoelace ties to secure the mask to the face.

* Is this actually effective? Will this protect anyone from the virus? *

I have found many conflicting opinions on this. I found this video with Dr. David Price from NYC to be very informative and comforting.

In his video I learned this virus is being transmitted from hands to mouth, nose, or eyes. Based on this information, I now always wear a mask when I leave the house.

I believe this is helpful and will continue to wear a mask because it reminds me not to touch my face when I'm out in public. This is my opinion only and based on what I have read and learned. This is not medical advice.

Please inform yourself and make the best decisions to protect yourself and your family.

Make Masks and Donate in Your Local Area

Please make 5-10 masks, then call your local hospitals, VA centers, nursing homes, hospice, and urgent care and ask if they are accepting homemade face masks.

Every hospital and center has different rules for how they want homemade masks made. This is not consistent, nor can this pattern take into every requirement for every facility.

Please contact your local hospital to see what will work for your area and be creative modifying this pattern to fit their needs.

Please also make masks for your friends and family members. 

Let's go sew,

Leah Day